Malaysian GP: Pirelli brings two hardest tyre compounds to Sepang
By Berthold Bouman
Pirelli will bring the medium (prime, white marked) and hard (option, orange marked) tyre compounds to Sepang for the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix. According to the Italian tyre manufacturer, the hardest compounds are especially suited for the extreme temperatures and the abrasive surface of the Sepang International Circuit.
Paul Hembery: We would describe Sepang as genuinely ‘extreme’
Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery is an expert on race tyres and he said about the Malaysian circuit, “We would describe Sepang as genuinely ‘extreme’: both in terms of weather and track surface. This means that it is one of the most demanding weekends for our tyres that we experience all year.”
About the tyre choice Hembery said, “The nomination we have for Malaysia is the same as last year, but the compounds themselves offer more performance and deliberately increased degradation this season.
Asked about the tyre strategies he commented, “Last year three stops proved to be the winning strategy in a mixed wet and dry race, with a thrilling finish between Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez that was all about tyres. We’d expect three stops again but once more it’s likely to be weather that dominates the action.”
Pirelli nominated the medium and hard tyre compounds for Sepang – Photo: Red Bull Racing
Sepang from a tyre point of view:
• Malaysia is one of the more abrasive surfaces that the cars compete on all year, which is part of the reason why the two hardest compounds from the range have been nominated.
• The P Zero Orange hard tyre has a high working range, whereas the P Zero White medium has a low working range. This makes it an ideal combination that can deal well with any eventuality. The durability characteristics of the new hard tyre are close to those of last year’s medium tyre, resulting in lap times that are around 0.4s-0.5s quicker than the 2012-specification hard.
• The Sepang track is built on what was formerly a swamp, with a fundamentally uneven surface. However, the asphalt was resurfaced in 2007, which smoothed out most of the bumps – although some remain.
• Last year, the hard and medium compounds were also chosen for the Malaysian Grand Prix. The top five drivers adopted a three-stop strategy: intermediate-wet-intermediate-slick. Bruno Senna meanwhile, in fifth place, stopped four times.
Pirelli’s technical tyre notes:
• Malaysia places heavy lateral demands on the tyres; it’s the second-highest lateral load of the year after Barcelona. This can lead to heat build-up within the tyre, which can reach a maximum of 130 degrees centigrade.
• Sessions at the Malaysian Grand Prix in the past have been frequently interrupted by heavy rain, and the race was even halted early in 2009, with half-points being awarded. Pirelli has a new specification of Cinturato Green intermediate and Cinturato Blue full wet tyre this year; with a redesigned construction to help improve traction and prevent snap oversteer.
• Although grip levels are high in Malaysia, the frequent rain has the effect of washing any rubber that has been laid down off the track overnight, meaning that there is often a ‘green’ surface at the start of each session. While a dry line can emerge quickly because of the high ambient temperatures, drainage at Sepang is not particularly good, which can lead to pools of standing water.
Malaysia 3D Track Experience – Video by Pirelli